As the trade deadline approaches, the NBA’s middle-class teams must do some serious self-evaluation. Here’s a look at how each of them should approach the Feb. 6 judgment day.
Mock trade season is always fun. No team is perfect this season, not even those at the top of the league. The Golden State Warriors’ dynasty is over and as a result the talent has spread out across the league.
The NBA’s middle class has ballooned too. Several teams are jockeying for back-end playoff spots in each conference and the next few weeks will be crucial in determining which teams will go for it and which ones will concede.
Jockeying for the right to get trounced by a top team has never been too appealing, but the advantage of tanking has diminished somewhat with the flattened lottery odds. Couple that with the oodles of cap space around the league last summer and more teams than expected gunned for competency.
Which of those teams should push forward with that competency? There are a few upstart teams, some incumbent ones that scream “38-44” and others that have yet to find their direction. Recent performance could weigh heavily in teams’ decisions.
Don’t expect too many blockbusters, though. A lot of top-tier players moved just last summer, making it difficult to envision many more doing so this soon after. Teams are still figuring themselves out, and will be stubborn to give up franchise centerpieces.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at who can make lower-end upgrades and who should just pack it in for the warmer months.